Supporting Faculty in a Community of Care

Concurrent Session 7
Equity and Inclusion

Brief Abstract

Visitors will explore our unique approach to faculty orientation, training, and development that highlights a community of care, positive growth mindset, inclusive teaching practices, and life-long learning. We will answer questions about logistics, content, instructional design, faculty support, and ongoing professional development and conduct demonstrations in our learning management system.


Melissa West is a Senior Faculty Support Agent (FSA) with the Office of Teaching and Learning Excellence (OTLE) at Walden University. In her role, she supports faculty digital fluency needs through live sessions and webinars as well as by developing job aids, video tutorials, and other faculty resources. Melissa began supporting Walden faculty as a Graduate Assistant before transitioning to the FSA role. Melissa is pursuing her PhD in Forensic Psychology. She completed her M.S. in Forensic Psychology at Walden University and B.S. in Human Services at SUNY Empire State College.
Hi, I'm Deb. Nice to e-meet you. I am a multipotentialite, someone with many interests and creative pursuits. I am highly organized, eloquent, and capable of getting people to work together by effectively communicating. I speak three languages (Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, and English), am a Certified Yoga teacher, a Star Wars enthusiast, and a lover of 80s and 90s movies. I think Batman is a superhero, even though many may disagree with me. I reside in Maryland, United States. Favorite quote: 'The truth is one. The paths are many'. (Yoga Sutras)

Extended Abstract

In this session, participants will have the opportunity to discuss a unique approach to supporting faculty with presenters who have been onboarding, training, and developing online faculty for their roles in an inclusive learning environment for over 10 years.

Participants will be given the opportunity to see demonstrations of our approach to supporting faculty in a community of care environment that integrates an immersive learning experience that highlights inclusivity, effective teaching practices, and opportunities for future growth. Visitors will be able to explore a 3-week instructor-led course in Canvas that prepares new faculty to explore the university’s history, mission, vision, values, and goals, explain the roles and responsibilities of online instructors, create an inclusive learning environment for a diverse student population that supports a community of care, and incorporate accessible learning tools that supports students’ knowledge, skills, and experiences. Discussion will include diving into how faculty are enrolled in two classrooms, one as a student and one as an instructor. The dual experience allows faculty to become immersed in understanding how to begin their role and demonstrate key instructor responsibilities and KPIs. Conversation will be centered around how to model a community of care approach that focuses on engagement, positive growth mindset, inclusivity, and social change which/to effectively reflect the university values and initiatives.

We will provide suggestions for meeting the needs of new faculty, academic leadership, and university, and implementing a regular review process and collaborating closely with university stakeholders and support teams. There will be discussion about providing faculty with personalized, 1:1 support during and after their training as well as Faculty Coaching and what those services might offer. We will also introduce how to leverage Instructional Designers to develop content within the course.

This session will allow for visitors to strategize how to implement this approach to meet the needs of their faculty. Participants will leave with resources to organize initial steps to meet their faculty needs.